Dialogue in films  and subtitles for hearing impaired  as resources for promoting  language awareness  <ul><li>Francesco C...
Dialogue, subtitles and language awareness   <ul><li>Outline of this presentation: </li></ul><ul><li>why language awarenes...
Why language awareness  <ul><li>Being able to talk about words and sentences is a need when doing text revision, when usin...
Requiements for educational intervention on  language awareness   <ul><li>1. finding a ‘language ground’ on which the stud...
Dialogue as object of study  <ul><li>dialogue as  ‘ primary genre’ (Bakhtin, Tannen) </li></ul><ul><li>dialogue is purpose...
Intralingual subtitles as learning resources <ul><li>A powerful aid to hearing impaired and L2 learners,  </li></ul><ul><l...
A few phenomena made more evident by a mismatch between audio and subtitles <ul><li>Language constructs identity /  writte...
C - Written code as  normalisation  (5) Commedia all’italiana  L’ultimo bacio  (2000) Engl. subtitle:  Normality is the tr...
A -  Identity in language (1) <ul><li>Commedia all’italiana  I soliti ignoti  (1956): </li></ul><ul><li>the viewer meets a...
A - Regional marks lost in subtitles (1) (past perfect) Commedia all’italiana  I soliti ignoti  (1956) Engl. subt.:  Miche...
A - Regional marks lost in subtitles (2) Commedia all’italiana  I soliti ignoti  (1956) Non le deve mancare nulla Engl. su...
A - Regional marks lost in subtitles (3) (past perfect: he is mimicing her brother) Engl. subt.: - Who is?  - Michele, I f...
A - Regional marks lost in subtitles (4) Audio:  - Carmela, componiti [C.,  tidy yourself up, your boyfriend is here ] -  ...
A -  Identity in language (2) <ul><li>We just met two ’Sicilian’ language marks : </li></ul><ul><li>- simple past instead ...
B - Written code as  normalisation  (1) <ul><li>Another character is in jail and is asking his lawyer to get him out. </li...
B - Written code as  normalisation  (2) Click to read the speech
B - Written code as  normalisation  (3) Lawyer, I must get out of this place immediately! A little job which can change ou...
B - Written code as  normalisation  (4) Commedia all’italiana  I soliti ignoti  (1956) Don’t shout, or [other-wise] you’ll...
Writing as  normalisation  (summary) <ul><li>subtitles standardize ( too much? ) pronunciation,   syntax and vocabulary; <...
D - Dialogue and  indirectedness <ul><li>Background: Deborah Tannen’s idea of  Double bind  in conversation (based on the ...
D -  Indirectedness  at work Commedia all’italiana  L’ultimo bacio  (2000) English subtitles - [Sweetheart, ] What if we b...
D -  Indirectedness  at work (2) <ul><li>Can you translate the sentence into a more direct one? </li></ul><ul><li>How are ...
E - Bad language and its function(s) <ul><li>A girl is flirting with a 10-years-older man she has just met at a party. </l...
E -  To swear or not to swear? Commedia all’italiana  L’ultimo bacio  (2000) [ You know,  ] I want to be an actress. After...
F - Connectives as instruction in dialogue <ul><li>Connectives instruct the listener about the speaker’s attitude in the o...
F - Connectives as instruction (2) Commedia all’italiana  L’ultimo bacio  (2000)
F - Connectives as instruction (3) - What have you done? Did you get a piercing? - Yes. - Are you crazy? - Don’t you like ...
What did we discover? <ul><li>- oral and written codes can be quite different,  - the oral code is not less valuable than ...
Further steps within a  coordinated L1/L2 curriculum <ul><li>writing  interlingual  subtitles as classroom activity; </li>...
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Film dialogue, subtitles and language awareness

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Dialogue in films and subtitles for hearing impaired as resources for promoting anguage awareness

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  • Background: my interests in language education - writing (with support of computer-based tools) - critical literacy - second language learning (esp. writing and reading) [plus teaching of literature and film] [ I’m now going back to teach in secondary school and this is a description of something I have only discussed with colleagues and not tried out with students of mother tongue ] The ideas proposed in this presentation will be tried out in the next months within ‘text analysis’ and ‘Italian cinema’ courses for Danish university students. My medium-term project, however, is to create a repository of film dialogues for fostering language awareness in Italian secondary school and for advanced students of L2-Italian.
  • Film dialogue, subtitles and language awareness

    1. 1. Dialogue in films and subtitles for hearing impaired as resources for promoting language awareness <ul><li>Francesco Caviglia Universiy of Aarhus, Denmark E-mail: romfrc@hum.au.dk </li></ul><ul><li>Presented at the 2003 IAIMTE conference Lisbon, 27-30 July </li></ul>
    2. 2. Dialogue, subtitles and language awareness <ul><li>Outline of this presentation: </li></ul><ul><li>why language awareness, why dialogue in fiction films and why intralingual subtitles; </li></ul><ul><li>mismatch between audio and subtitles as a cue for understanding how - language contructs/reflects identities and relationships - (Italian) oral and written codes are different </li></ul><ul><li>Towards a a coordinated L1/L2 curriculum? </li></ul>
    3. 3. Why language awareness <ul><li>Being able to talk about words and sentences is a need when doing text revision, when using language cues for reading between the lines, in L2 teaching. </li></ul><ul><li>A Catch 22 problem with some current practice: </li></ul><ul><li>when discussing words and sentences, the student is often on shaky ground on both language and meta-language (e.g., talking about syntax structures in L2) ; </li></ul><ul><li>when meta-language is taught as subject matter, the student is seldom confronted with problems worth being discussed </li></ul>
    4. 4. Requiements for educational intervention on language awareness <ul><li>1. finding a ‘language ground’ on which the students are strong enough to have their say at the level of performance ; </li></ul><ul><li>2. choosing tools for observing language; </li></ul><ul><li>3. finding good questions on relevant topics and conceptual tools to rise above the students’ understanding </li></ul>Dialogue in films Intralingual subtitles See examples
    5. 5. Dialogue as object of study <ul><li>dialogue as ‘ primary genre’ (Bakhtin, Tannen) </li></ul><ul><li>dialogue is purposeful and often ingegnious action; </li></ul><ul><li>dialogue in fiction films is less idiosyncratic and less disturbed by ‘noise’ then real-life conversation; </li></ul><ul><li>dialogue in films is a reliable model of ‘language norm’ in a given milieu </li></ul><ul><li>understanding the communicative function should not be a problem (fiction simulates real-life). </li></ul>
    6. 6. Intralingual subtitles as learning resources <ul><li>A powerful aid to hearing impaired and L2 learners, </li></ul><ul><li>subtitles ideally ought to duplicate the soundtrack, </li></ul><ul><li>but </li></ul><ul><li>constraints of time and space on the screen make subtitles usually shorter than a full transcript; </li></ul><ul><li>interlingual subtitlers are used to present the gist of what is being said (Withhold, 2002:1) </li></ul><ul><li>subtitles are unusual in Italy (films are dubbed!) and subtitlers have not yet a tradition to follow </li></ul><ul><li>-> subtitles as support for observing dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>-> audio/subtitles mismatches as source of questions </li></ul>
    7. 7. A few phenomena made more evident by a mismatch between audio and subtitles <ul><li>Language constructs identity / written code as ’normalisation’ </li></ul><ul><li>involvement and face work in conversation: - indirectedness - the function of swearing </li></ul><ul><li>connectives as instructions in dialogue </li></ul>A E D F Final considerations B C
    8. 8. C - Written code as normalisation (5) Commedia all’italiana L’ultimo bacio (2000) Engl. subtitle: Normality is the true revolution AUDIO: E’ la normalità la vera rivoluzione
    9. 9. A - Identity in language (1) <ul><li>Commedia all’italiana I soliti ignoti (1956): </li></ul><ul><li>the viewer meets a guy from Sicily, who </li></ul><ul><li>- keeps his sister locked in; - looks like a prototypical Sicilian; - talks like a prototypical Sicilian. </li></ul><ul><li>What is typical for his and his sister’s language? </li></ul>
    10. 10. A - Regional marks lost in subtitles (1) (past perfect) Commedia all’italiana I soliti ignoti (1956) Engl. subt.: Michele, there is someone at the door AUDIO: Michele, Michele, bussarono [ simple past ; she comes from Sicily!]
    11. 11. A - Regional marks lost in subtitles (2) Commedia all’italiana I soliti ignoti (1956) Non le deve mancare nulla Engl. subt.: She will marry with great honour. She must not miss anything! AUDIO: […] Con grandissimo onore si deve sposare, e nulla ci deve mancare
    12. 12. A - Regional marks lost in subtitles (3) (past perfect: he is mimicing her brother) Engl. subt.: - Who is? - Michele, I forgot my keys AUDIO: Sono Michele, dimenticai le chiavi [ simple past ]
    13. 13. A - Regional marks lost in subtitles (4) Audio: - Carmela, componiti [C., tidy yourself up, your boyfriend is here ] - Composta sono [ I look fine ] (topic-first structure, typical from South Italy)
    14. 14. A - Identity in language (2) <ul><li>We just met two ’Sicilian’ language marks : </li></ul><ul><li>- simple past instead of past perfect; - topic-first rather than subject-first word order (with raising intonation on the topic) . </li></ul><ul><li>Why did these marks disappear from the undertitles? Do you think it’s right? </li></ul>
    15. 15. B - Written code as normalisation (1) <ul><li>Another character is in jail and is asking his lawyer to get him out. </li></ul><ul><li>He speaks with a Roman accent. </li></ul><ul><li>Which changes are made to his speech in the subtitles? And why? </li></ul>
    16. 16. B - Written code as normalisation (2) Click to read the speech
    17. 17. B - Written code as normalisation (3) Lawyer, I must get out of this place immediately! A little job which can change our lives … …is expecting me! SUBTITLES Avvocato, io devo uscire subito da qui! Ho un lavoretto da fare, qua ndo esco da qui ... (standard; devo - I must , sounds more arrogant) SOUNDTRACK Avvoca’, io bisogna che esc o , che esc o subito! Devo fa’ un lavoretto qua n n o esco de qua … (popular speech, with no conjunctive and strong Roman accent)
    18. 18. B - Written code as normalisation (4) Commedia all’italiana I soliti ignoti (1956) Don’t shout, or [other-wise] you’ll wake her up! AUDIO: E parla piano, che se no la svegli!
    19. 19. Writing as normalisation (summary) <ul><li>subtitles standardize ( too much? ) pronunciation, syntax and vocabulary; </li></ul><ul><li>written code has to be correct and ’authoritative’; </li></ul><ul><li>regional or social langauage marks go lost </li></ul><ul><li>-> subtitles reflect a large gap between oral and written Italian (e.g., the topic-first word order is deep rooted in the oral code); </li></ul><ul><li>-> this gap may explain - why learning to write is difficult; - the awkwardness of much Italian prose. </li></ul>
    20. 20. D - Dialogue and indirectedness <ul><li>Background: Deborah Tannen’s idea of Double bind in conversation (based on the concept of face work ): showing affection and keeping independence, obtaining what we want without imposing ourselves. </li></ul><ul><li>A quote: I'm a woman. We don't say what we want but we do reserve the right to get pissed off when we don't get it. ( Sliding doors , 1998) </li></ul><ul><li>In the next example the woman, who is pregnant, is suggesting plans for the future to a reluctant man. </li></ul>
    21. 21. D - Indirectedness at work Commedia all’italiana L’ultimo bacio (2000) English subtitles - [Sweetheart, ] What if we bought our own house, instead of paying rent? - What? AUDIO: - Amore, e se ci comprassimo una casa tutta nostra invece che stare qui in affitto? - Eh ?
    22. 22. D - Indirectedness at work (2) <ul><li>Can you translate the sentence into a more direct one? </li></ul><ul><li>How are these elements made more easily to accept? </li></ul><ul><li>- the fact that the woman is making a request </li></ul><ul><li>- the act of buying </li></ul><ul><li>- the object to buy (a house) </li></ul><ul><li>How much indirectedness has remained in the subtitles? </li></ul>
    23. 23. E - Bad language and its function(s) <ul><li>A girl is flirting with a 10-years-older man she has just met at a party. </li></ul><ul><li>In the soundtrack, she makes a disparaging allusion to the high school. </li></ul><ul><li>Why does she make an allusion of this kind? </li></ul><ul><li>And why is the allusion not reported in the subtitles? Isn’t it relevant ? </li></ul>
    24. 24. E - To swear or not to swear? Commedia all’italiana L’ultimo bacio (2000) [ You know, ] I want to be an actress. After [ I finish ] the [ fucking ] high school, I’ll come to an acting school. Audio: Lo sai che io voglio fare l’attrice? Appena finisco ’sto cazzo di liceo mi iscrivo a una scuola di recitazione
    25. 25. F - Connectives as instruction in dialogue <ul><li>Connectives instruct the listener about the speaker’s attitude in the ongoing dialogue. </li></ul><ul><li>Connectives at the beginning of sentences are typical of the oral code (often followed by a pause), and often left out in subtitles. </li></ul><ul><li>In the following scene, a man comes home after a row on the phone with his wife, who insists he ought to become more responsible after the birth of their child. She is eager to make peace, but… </li></ul>
    26. 26. F - Connectives as instruction (2) Commedia all’italiana L’ultimo bacio (2000)
    27. 27. F - Connectives as instruction (3) - What have you done? Did you get a piercing? - Yes. - Are you crazy? - Don’t you like it? - I hate it, look at yourself! The repeated ”ma” ( but ) reflects how she answers the non-verbal message her man is sending her… SUBTITLES Hai fatto un”piercing”? (without ”ma” = but ) AUDIO -Ma che hai fatto? - Che ho fatto? - Ma ti sei fatto un piercing...- Embe’? - Ma quando te lo sei fatto? Ma sei completamente impazzito? - Perché, non ti piace? - Ma mi fai schifo, mi fai. - Ma ti sei visto?
    28. 28. What did we discover? <ul><li>- oral and written codes can be quite different, - the oral code is not less valuable than writing; - Italian comedies must have a regional mark. </li></ul><ul><li>language constructs not only representations, but also identities and relations; </li></ul><ul><li>dialogue is a means to get things done. </li></ul><ul><li>In the process, </li></ul><ul><li>the student has assumed the role of a researcher on language. </li></ul>
    29. 29. Further steps within a coordinated L1/L2 curriculum <ul><li>writing interlingual subtitles as classroom activity; </li></ul><ul><li>enacting the screenplay; </li></ul><ul><li>making a more conscious use of subtitles as a support for L2-learning. </li></ul>

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